Good news! Coal bankruptcies point to a better future for our climate

 

By Larry Kummer. From the Fabius Maximus website.

Summary: The bankruptcy of the world’s largest non-government-owned coal company illustrates one of the two big weaknesses in the nightmarish climate change scenario that dominates the headlines. It takes us even further off the path to the RCP8.5 scenario behind those stories, onto one going to a far better future.

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Climate forecasts (called “projections” by the IPCC) rely on two key factors. First, the scenario — a forecast of future emissions, must be accurate. Second, the model must accurately predict temperatures for that scenario. Previous posts have shown climate scientists’ reluctance to test their models using the decades of data after their publication. Recent events highlight that the second factor is also important.

The nightmarish predictions of climate change that dominate the news almost all rely on the most severe of the four scenarios used by the Fifth Assessment Report, the IPCC’s most recent: RCP8.5. It describes a future in which much has gone wrong (details here), most importantly…

  • a slowdown in tech progress (coal is the fuel of the late 19th century, as it was in the late 19thC), and
  • unusually rapid population growth (inexplicably, that fertility in sub-Saharan Africa does not decline or crash as it has everywhere else).

Looking at such scenarios, however unlikely, is vital for planning. Sometimes we get unlucky. But presenting such outcomes without mentioning their unlikely assumptions misleads readers and puts the credibility of science itself at risk. Which is climate science today.

Why burning coal might become as common as burning cow dung

Coal is dirty and dangerous to mine, moderately expensive to transport (by train or barge), and dirty to burn. When natural gas prices drop below $3 per thousand cubic feet (i.e., per 100 thousand BTU), coal becomes uneconomical. In 2002 much of the US coal industry was sliding to bankruptcy. It was rescued by the energy boom, which produced fracking — which crashed natural gas prices and trashed the coal industry. In a Sept 30 report Moody’s analyst Anna Zubets- Anderson said that half of the world’s coal production is uneconomic at then-current prices (gated report; news story). Now 90% of US coal production is uneconomic vs. natural gas.

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Will coal be the fuel of the future? Growth in output from renewable energy sources and a crash in natural gas prices (from fracking) have sent a long and growing list of coal companies to bankruptcy court as both prices and volume tumbled.

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From VOX, 13 April 2016.

The result: Several score smaller companies died in 2012-2014, and then the large ones began to roll over.

US coal production in 2015 dropped 18% from that of 2011. US coal mines were running at 70% of capacity (before closings, which were substantial and increasing). After each bankruptcy coal mining capacity drops as unprofitable and marginal mines are closed. Once the miners leave an area and rail lines to the mine are removed (the land is often valuable), reopening mines range from difficult to almost impossible.

The climate change difference: shifting from coal to natural gas

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From EIA, 16 March 2016.

The US crash in coal has largely resulted from a shift to natural gas. From 1970 to 2007 the annual production of natural gas in US was roughly 20 trillion cubic feet; since then it has risen to 29 trillion in 2015 (per EIA). The EIA predicts that in 2016 we’ll burn more natural gas than coal.

Does this make a different to climate change? Yes! Burning coal to produce a million BTUs of energy produces an average of 210 pounds of CO2; burning natural gas to do so produces 117 pounds of CO2 (coal produced and CO2 emitted per EIA) — a reduction of 45%!

More competition for coal lies ahead

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Tri Alpha Energy’s fusion device.

A host of new energy sources are under development. Improvements in solar, wind, and geothermal — plus potentially larger innovations in nuclear and fusion. For example, Tri Alpha Energy has raised over $150 in private capital — from people looking for a profit in the near future (not in 2100) — to fund its 150 employees and the many patents they have filed. Here’s a presentation from 2012 describing their device, and an August 2014 article from Science about the project — and the accompanying video…

Conclusions

The horrific coal-burning late 21st century described by RCP8.5 provides a valuable warning that we have to push technological progress for any hope of a better world. Representing it as a “business as usual” future is absurd — and materially misleading. But doing so has become business as usual for climate scientists and journalists — as documented here. That this scam has persisted so long is not surprising for journalists, but shows a deep dysfunctionality in climate science.

We can force reforms. We can end the climate policy wars: demand a test of the models.

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157 thoughts on “Good news! Coal bankruptcies point to a better future for our climate

  1. ..” a slowdown in tech progress (coal is the fuel of the late 19th century, as it was in the late 19thC). ”
    Did I miss something or should there be a 20th Century in there somewhere ?? Just curious !

    • ” Does this make a different to climate change? ” You really need to proof read your silly posts ! Should be ” Difference ” not ” different “!

      • This post is another fine example of the unthinking repetition of the talking points of the brainless.

        Not all “coals” are equal of course. The author must be talking about “thermal” coal, the one with less carbon in it! I presume he also imagines BS* will magically replace the coking coal that is indispensable in the manufacture of Iron and Steal!

        *Cow dung

    • Marcus,

      Good catch on both of these!

      I just threw this together. I feel a sense of futility in writing about the alarmists’ mendacious propaganda campaign, journalists’ complicit broadcasting of it, and the more-or-less acceptance of it by skeptics (who appear to prefer a fun focus on technical details — of zero interest to the public — and unlikely-to-be-believed conspiracy theories about climate scientists).

      Despite the importance of this public policy debate, I find it difficult to write seriously about this theater of the absurd — especially since I doubt it will end well for us.

      • Larry,

        Your points to Marcus seem fair enough but can you try not to give ammunition to the propaganda machine by rehashing their debauched terms. The real issues aren’t even debated; the dumbed down talking points make sure of that.

        What is obscene about these insipid arguments is the shear scale of the coal production in China.

        China is by far the biggest producer in the world with 3,650 million tonnes (47% of the global total), making Australia’s* 431.2 million tonnes, look like a joke.
        And Australia is the world’s second largest exporter (By proportion of production) with around 375 million tonnes exported annually.

        *Australia is the fifth largest producer of coal in the world.

        1. The US has a president whose on-the-record and stated aim is to bankrupt the coal industry there.
        2. It is without question that the west is being de-industrialised. Manufacturing and jobs are being off-shored to the east.
        3. Asia is massively expanding the use of coal in all its forms.
        4. The Chinese are opening up their own new coal mines in Australia and despite the slump in prices, production continues apace*.

        *Price actually has less meaning today in this globalised economy of artificial financial control.

      • Editor wrote: “and unlikely-to-be-believed conspiracy theories about climate scientists”

        The conspiracy is real, it is not a theory. See Climategate emails for confirmations that major climate scientists were actively, deliberately conspiring with each other to distort the historic surface temperature record, so as to give the global warming theory credibility.

        There is no doubt about it.

        Whether some people believe it or not makes no difference.

      • “of zero interest to the public — and unlikely-to-be-believed conspiracy theories about climate scientists.”

        How patronising of you.

        Like many of your pompous, sneering, self-aggrandising ilk you consistently underestimate the mental capacity of the public or their interest in matters beyond the football scores. This says far more about you than it does about the public.

        As to the “unlikely-to-be-believed conspiracy theories”, did you ever hear of Climategate? Did you read the emails – or were they above your intellectual level? No less an individual than John Kerry remarked that the affair was responsible for a substantial loss of credibility.

  2. Looking at such scenarios, however unlikely, is vital for planning. Sometimes we get unlucky. But presenting such outcomes without mentioning their unlikely assumptions misleads readers and puts the credibility of science itself at risk. Which is climate science today.

    This is insane logic to apply to AGW. There is a 1/1×10^7 that we will experience catastrophic warming. Never is 600 million years has CO2 caused catastrophic warming, even when CO2 was 7,000ppm. A coming ice age is a 100% certainty. The argument they use works for preparing for an ice age, not further warming. BTW, the Fabius Maximus website will no longer allow me to post on its board because I challenge the AGW theory. You can read what posts I still have there and make your own decision if I should have been banned.

    • I agree that CO2 at approximately 7,000 ppm with no catastrophic results is actual scientific evidence (but not proof) that CO2 will not warm the planet. Note that all CO2 increase comes after the planet warms first. CO2 follows warmth, and does not lead it. (do they still teach logic in academia?)

      I also think that the boys at NASS/NOAA having to “cook the books” to hide the fact there has been no warming during the era of a fast rise in atmospheric concentrations of CO2 is yet more evidence.

      Steve Goddard has posted about a 75 year old publication by the Federal Government (US Ag Dept) which says:

      “No probable increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide could materially affect either the amount of insolation reaching the surface or the amount of terrestrial radiation lost to space.”

      https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2016/04/17/global-warming-scam-has-been-dead-for-75-years/

      I am not that old, but the professors that taught me physics and earth science would have been astonished at the CO2 delusion of today.

      The important thing should be to find out what caused the Little Ice Age rather than cooking the books to plead that it never happened. Whatever can cause sudden cold is the dangerous thing. Whatever causes it to be nice and warm is a welcome thing.

      CO2 does not warm the earth, but I sure wish it did!

      • I also think that the boys at NASS/NOAA having to “cook the books” to hide the fact there has been no warming during the era of a fast rise in atmospheric concentrations of CO2 is yet more evidence.

        The sad truth is we cancled the Shuttle Program to fund climate “science.” Those boys at NASA, the ones that once put a man on the moon, are now prostituting themselves to remain relevant and funded. JFK put those boys on the map, Obama took the best and brightest turned them to whores, selling themselves for their paychecks.

      • “No probable increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide could materially affect either the amount of insolation reaching the surface or the amount of terrestrial radiation lost to space.”
        A bizarre use of that quote. Goddard has no idea about the greenhouse effect. The statement is true now, as it was then. CO2 does not block sunlight, and apart from a small initial dip while Earth is warming, CO2 does not change OLR. It can’t; at steady state we radiate what we receive.

      • Nick…

        Goddard has no idea about the greenhouse effect………

        “a 75 year old publication by the Federal Government (US Ag Dept) which says:”

      • “I agree that CO2 at approximately 7,000 ppm with no catastrophic results is actual scientific evidence (but not proof) that CO2 will not warm the planet.”

        Sorry, Mark, but this is flawed logic.

        7,000ppm without catastrophic results is only evidence that (much) higher CO2 need not be a bad thing.

        In no way is it evidence that it doesn’t warm the planet.

        I’m not saying it will (by much); and I agree that it has followed warming historically.

        You are also right that colder is far worse than warmer.

        It’s just that if you’re going to criticise other’s logic you’ll make a stronger case by being logical yourself.

        Have a good one.

      • Phil’s Dad:

        You quotes me: “I agree that CO2 at approximately 7,000 ppm with no catastrophic results is actual scientific evidence (but not proof) that CO2 will not warm the planet.”

        You then commented: “Sorry, Mark, but this is flawed logic.”

        No, it is not flawed logic. The higher levels of CO2 in the past that followed warming tend to support those of us who claim that CO2 does not warm the surface.

        There have been flame wars here between the real skeptics and the luke-warmers, and I don’t want to get into all that. Let us just say that the “CO2 warms a lot” consensus is no worse than the “CO2 warms a little” consensus. In my view, both are refuted by evidence and also working from first principles of thermodynamics and physics.

        So, while the temperature and CO2 concentration reconstructions do not prove anything (as I noted) they do tend to support my views.

    • Any frequent reader of this site should know that there is no credibility to the hypothesis that CO2 (any source) leads to “global warming”. Ice cores show that CO2 always follows Temperature, whether rising or falling.

      QED – CO2 is not the control knob of temperature.

      We already know that increased CO2 leads to increased vegetation, crop growth, and reduced water needs.

      Coal is cheap (absent government regulations), abundant, and a reliable source for electricity production. Any reduction in coal use translates to increased cost/reduced reliability of electricity for the billions of poor in the world.

      Any policy that makes coal more expensive, more regulated, or less useful is a policy that targets and harms the world’s poor

      Period

    • Co2 is Life,

      “There is a 1/1×10^7 that we will experience catastrophic warming.”

      So now we know what Spock did before he joined the Enterprise! What a marvelously precise and confidently-stated number.

      Until everybody recognizes your accomplishment, I’ll just work with the assumptions used by the major climate agencies and governments’ of the world’s major nations. They clearly show the unlikely nature of the nightmare’s predicted in the headlines of the news media.

      • “What a marvelously precise and confidently-stated number. ”

        It is called “snark” and makes for better reading than just dry academic writing.

      • “They clearly show the unlikely nature of the nightmare’s…”

        I bet they know how to use apostrophes correctly too…

      • Co2 is Life,

        “There is a 1/1×10^7 that we will experience catastrophic warming.”

        So now we know what Spock did before he joined the Enterprise! What a marvelously precise and confidently-stated number.

        We have 600 million years of the geological record showing that never in 600 million years has CO2 resulted in catastrophic warming. Never. CO2 has been as high as 7000 ppm and temperatures never got above 22&Dec;C. We fell into an ice age when CO2 was 4000 ppm.

        Until everybody recognizes your accomplishment, I’ll just work with the assumptions used by the major climate agencies and governments’ of the world’s major nations. They clearly show the unlikely nature of the nightmare’s predicted in the headlines of the news media.

        Why would you ever trust those organizations given the results of their models? Show me 1 single IPCC that accurately models temperature, let alone climate. While you are at it, show me anywhere over the past 600,000 years, that climate wasn’t changing? Show me an ice core data sets that shows stability ever.

    • BTW, the Fabius Maximus website will no longer allow me to post on its board because I challenge the AGW theory. You can read what posts I still have there and make your own decision if I should have been banned.

      I stand corrected, Fabius approved my recent post and actually gave me a “like.”

    • co2islife: “BTW, the Fabius Maximus website will no longer allow me to post on its board because I challenge the AGW theory.”

      I got banned because I apparently disagreed with scientists.

      Funny that, as I’ve worked with science and scientists for much of my career, and FM is AFAIK some sort of historian.

    • I wonder if the author will be so pleased with no coal if the temperatures fall and there is insufficient baseload power to maintain the power grids in the increased demand? There are already thousands dying in winters due to energy poverty – I suppose the author finds that a cheering Malthusian thought too.

      • I don’t put that sort of pivot past the AGW/greens/Mathusian/socialists. In my mind, whatever yields the highest number of human deaths with the most government control and wealth redistribution, restrictions of free speech, and reversion to the stone age will be the path that these jerks will follow. The author will change his mind if required, shamelessly.

      • The author is projecting virtue and nothing more. Virtue projection, while not accomplishing anything, is well thought of in AGW circles. These circles are black holes to good intentions .

  3. Yeah, but if CO2 is not important climate-wise, what’s the difference? One would agree that the other coal-based pollutants are worth avoiding. I watched a Hmong ten year old cooking the family lunch inside the hut on a dung fire some years ago (Laos). He’s probably one of the three million dead of lung disease by now. Bring on the coal fired power station.

    • “One would agree that the other coal-based pollutants are worth avoiding.”

      Yes, I would definitely agree. That is a problem that needs to be addressed.

      The coal industry is making some good progress in cleaning up their emmissions. It remains to be seen how clean they can get it.

  4. Climate forecasts (called “projections” by the IPCC) rely on two key factors. First, the scenario — a forecast of future emissions, must be accurate. Second, the model must accurately predict temperatures for that scenario. Previous posts have shown climate scientists’ reluctance to test their models using the decades of data after their publication. Recent events highlight that the second factor is also important.

    1) The forecasts are extremely biased, and almost 100% overestimate the actual increase in temperature.
    2) The original data doesn’t have the luxury of knowing the answer that may be desired in 10 years. That is why they won’t use original data, they don’t know the answer they will want in the future. You only alter the data once you know the answer that you want. In my field that is a criminal activity, in climate science that is a sound scientific practice. Using original data will disprove their theory, only ex post facto adjustments make this theory “valid.”

  5. The article has a section headlined:

    Why burning coal might become as common as burning cow dung

    Since burning dung is very, very common in many parts of the world, and since dung is the main fuel source for millions of people, this headline just shows that the author is clueless about global energy …

    w.

    • It was that phrase that completely threw me. I couldn’t see what the hell this author was trying to get to.

    • Also he is clueless about the current policies of China and India to expand their power supply using indigenous coal. The problem with shale gas, which China has and probably India but not extensively surveyed, is how do you distribute it to the dung burners? Electricity is much more useful and cheaper to distribute. Here in the UK the core (urban) gas distribution network was built in the reign of Victoria (though renewed in the 1970’s with the change in the constitution of the gas).
      That is where the future demand for coal will be, generation of electricity.
      In passing, cow dung, at least in the UK, was neber in copious supply – I suspect that the gross problem in the third world is the shortage of wood, ended here 250 years ago by the use of coal.

      • North China and Mongolia have shale gas resources second only to the US according to USGS. It will take decades to build sufficient pipeline infrastructure to take significant advantage, however. So they build USC coal.
        Peabody’s bankruptcy was mainly caused by two things. 1. Old inefficient US coal generation (average retirement age since 1990 is 48 years) shutting in favor of lower capital cost, faster to build, much more thermally efficient (61% vs 41% USC coal vs 34% old coal) and lower operating cost (thanks to abundant fracked natural gas) replacement CCGT. Their US market is shrinking. 2. High debt structure thanks to making a very unwise Australian coal acquisition for, IIRC, $2.5 billion in borrowed funds. Peabody’s underlying mines, especially in Wyoming’s Powder River basin, are still profitable. Strip mined, thick seam, low sulfur, low ash sub bituminous thermal coal still very desireable for the remaining US coal fleet.

      • disgenese,

        “Also he is clueless about the current policies of China ”

        China is frantically attempting to reduce their use of coal, but also simultaneously replacing their largely ancient coal-burning power plants. It’s a two tier approach to reducing their horrific air pollution while fueling their growing economy.

        China’s statistics should be regarded skeptically, but data from recent years suggests that they’ve turned the corner in coal use. See “China coal consumption drops again” and “Statistics From China Say Coal Consumption Continues to Drop“.

    • Oooh! See, I knew that burning cow dung is pretty common, so I thought he was saying that burning coal would also be common — but yet, he wasn’t saying that and then I got really confused and had to have a sit-down.

      • I couldn’t finish the thing . . it was like some sort of carnival fun house for the mind . . without any fun . .

    • Thank-you, Willis. Coal is cheap and, in modern power plants, quite clean.

      Removing coal will do nearly nothing for the environment and merely make life harder for people living in the communities that depend on coal for their livelihood.

      And for those who want to shout about open pit mines, regard Mt. Saint Helens. Nature is far more destructive than humans, and these days we clean up our messes faster.

    • Willis,

      “Since burning dung is very, very common in many parts of the world”

      It’s common in some parts of the world (e.g., some rural areas of Africa and the Indian subcontinent) — but provides a microscopic share of the world’s energy. Which is what I was referring to.

      • Editor of the Fabius Maximus website April 17, 2016 at 9:49 pm

        Willis,

        “Since burning dung is very, very common in many parts of the world”

        It’s common in some parts of the world (e.g., some rural areas of Africa and the Indian subcontinent) — but provides a microscopic share of the world’s energy. Which is what I was referring to.

        Larry, thanks for the reply. Your claim was NOT that dung “provides a microscopic share of the world’s energy”. Your claim was that it was not common … but in fact it is quite common. It is burned in Russia, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, in many African countries, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, lots of places. Heck, even here in the US we used to burn “cow chips” out on the prairie, and those times are not over, viz:

        Manure Fuels Texas Ethanol Plant
        Texas is the nation’s leading cattle state, with an abundance of animal waste that can be used to create energy. Because transporting dry manure far distances to power plants is impractical, it is most often used as a fuel regionally. Hereford, located in the Texas Panhandle, is known as the cattle capitol of the world with more than one million head of cattle and 100,000 dairy cows located within a 100-mile radius of the town. The area is supplying a new ethanol plant with fuel in the form of manure from cattle feedyards, eliminating the need to burn expensive natural gas.

        And while you are right that it is only a small part of worldwide energy use, in the areas where it is used it is often the only form of energy available to the poor … and that’s about as common as you can get.

        w.

  6. In 2002 much of the US coal industry was sliding to bankruptcy. It was rescued by the energy boom, which produced fracking — which crashed natural gas prices and trashed the coal industry. In a Sept 30 report Moody’s analyst Anna Zubets- Anderson said that half of the world’s coal production is uneconomic at then-current prices (gated report; news story). Now 90% of US coal production is uneconomic vs. natural gas.

    No I understand why Obama and the EPA didn’t crush fracking. I can’t pass up highlighting the irony of the nit wit environmentalists that want to stop fracking. If you stop fracking coal becomes economical again. Anti fracking is really pro-coal. Oh the irony.

    • Partly incorrect. Obama basically shut down fracking on federal land. But the Permian basin, the Fayetteville, Marcellus, Neobrara, and Utica gas shales aren’t on federal land. EPA tried a groundwater contamination frackmregulation approach on private land. That failed because there isn’t any from properly constructed wells. Now they are trying methane rules. What they will discover is that these wells don’t leak, either. Why waste stuff you want to sell?

      • RM, nice picture of the Bakken OIL shale. The minor amount of coproduced volitiles (mostly methane, some butane and propane) isn’t worth building a pipeline collection system for. So it is flared, combusted into CO2 and water. Still no atmospheric methane for the EPA to fret about. Flaring is SOP wherever it doesn’t pay to collect the gas and it isn’t possible to reinject intomthe reservoir to maintain pressure. No shales can be reinjected. Hence Bakken is flared.

        Natural gas shales by definition are worth building a gas pipeline collection system from the wellheads –if they are being fracked. That gas is scrubbed at some central collection point to remove any coproduced CO2 or H2S. Any other volatiles (again usually butane and propane) are removed for separate sale. Only ‘dry gas’ (essentially pure methane) is inserted into the commercial pipeline network. And that had better not leak either, cause boom if it does.

      • RM, if they are building a Bakken gas collection system it is because there is now enough (wells and gas) to make that economic.
        You have never been around a drilling rig or oil/gas well, have you? I have. My grandfather was a leading petroleum geologist of his day. Nobody wants a Macondo. Not even a baby Macondo. Leaks are bad. Just in case, smoking is prohibited in the vicinity. Just common safety sense.

      • Get ready. Hillary wants to ban fracking. That’s one of her party platforms. If Trump gets the nomination, it’s a shew in for Hillary to become POTUS, I’m sad to say. That’s why Cruz is the only alternative. He would destroy her in the debates – providing that she will debate. She would probably be like Trump and be afraid to debate Cruz.

      • If you like Party Bosses picking the nominees, vote Cruz.

        (PS~ I doubt heavily they will pick Mr. Cruz, though)

      • Just saw a news feed from Penn Energy. Alphabet Energy & Coyote (?) have developed a thermionic generator to recover the heat from those flares for local electric power that reduces the need for FF diesel engine generators. Find a need and fill it.

  7. Coal is dirty and dangerous to mine, moderately expensive to transport (by train or barge), and dirty to burn.

    This muddled and incorrect statement (layers upon payers of wrong!) is an excellent basis for an incoherent article.

    • “This muddled and incorrect statement (layers upon payers of wrong!) is an excellent basis for an incoherent article.”

      What are the factual incorrections? Dirty to mine? Yes, especially if mountaintop removal is used, not to mention thousands if not 10s of thousands of miners who have gotten black lung disease. Dangerous? Yes, far more fatalities than arise from occur in natural gas or oil production. Moderately expensive to transport? Yes, compared to oil or natural gas pipelines. Dirty to burn? Yes, especially where scrubbers are not installed – scrubbers add substantial cost, and so are often not implemented in developing countries.

  8. Coal consumption may be down because it’s being displaced by fracked natural gas but these ecogeniuses want to ban fracking too.

    Many of the coal bankruptcies in the U.S. are “Chapter 11” in which the companies reorganize and discharge debt but retain some operations.

  9. But doing so has become business as usual for climate scientists and journalists — as documented here. That this scam has persisted so long is not surprising for journalists, but shows a deep dysfunctionality in climate science.

    We can force reforms. We can end the climate policy wars: demand a test of the models.

    1) The models should be tested with original data
    2) An open source temperature reconstruction and climate model campaign should be started
    3) Climate “scientists” should be prosecuted for willfully misleading the public
    4) An agency for policing the funding, granting and conclusions reached should be created. There is no SEC style watch dog to keep these people honest.
    5) The unregulated utopia of the university will come crashing down when the iron fist or Federal oversight punches them in the face. All those big government liberals will become conservatives once they have the Federal Government looking into everything they do and have done.

    All of academia will rue the day the criminal acts in the climate science departments is exposed. The math, economics, stats and physics departments will all suffer for their willful silence.

    • “It is hard to imagine a more stupid decision or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.”
      Thomas Sowell

      • “It is hard to imagine a more stupid decision or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.”
        Thomas Sowell

        Bingo!!!! x 10^1,000

  10. Typical existing coal fired Rankine cycle (water/steam) EGUs produce about 2,100 lb CO2 / MWh. EPA CPP’s fossil fired (both coal & NG) 2030 performance standard is 1,305 lb CO2 / MWh. Coal cannot do this w/o CCS. lb CO2 / MWh = (lb CO2 / E6) Btu (fuel composition) * (E6 Btu / MWh) (efficiency)

    NG Rankine cycles produce about 1,100 lb CO2 / MWh. NG (It’s a fossil fuel!) Rankine can beat the CPP coal w/o any special action. Co-firing, converting coal to NG, building NG Rankine will all meet or exceed EPA’s 2030 performance standard. NG simple cycle EGUs cannot meet the 2030 standard of 771 lb CO2 / MWh, but they are small peakers.

    Because a CCPP design (combined Brayton/Rankine cycles) has an efficiency of about 60% it produces about 650 lb CO2 / MWh. NG CCPP can also beat the CPP goal w/o action.

    The entire point of EPA’s CPP is to cripple coal and encourage NG. Not exactly equal treatment under the law. Will see how the legal challenge goes.

    States have the flexibility to meet their 2030 performance standard through any combination or aggregation of the EGUs in their jurisdiction. So retire a couple of old, inefficient coal units, build a few CCPPs, fuel swapping, etc. and the bigger newer coal burners can press on as usual. BTW, hydroelectric EGUs built before 2012 don’t count, are ineligible for inclusion in meeting the 2030 standards. Why is that?

    And just what is the Clean Power Plan supposed to accomplish? A 32% reduction in CO2 output from US power generation (not just coal). The US is responsible for about 16% of the world’s CO2 output. Power generation represents about 31% of US CO2 production. Therefore – 16% * 31% * 32% = 1.6%. CPP will reduce the global C2 output by 1.6%. Whoopeee!! China and India will cancel that out with their next dozen coal fired power plants.

    • Nicholas

      Re China: I see they are taking old plants offline and building much more modern, larger ones. It has the same effect as you describe. In 2040 they can take the new ones offline and put in the latest gadgetry for gasification and modified atmosphere combustion. Any carbon resource that cheap and plentiful is going to be used until it is gone. Then they will start going after the methane hydrates.

      The big impact of the war on coal will be turning the US into the UK and handing the keys to the Jag to the East. So far the East hasn’t complained about their promotion.

  11. ….Cheap, affordable power, saves lives…..Coal Powered electricity = cheap, affordable power, thus, COAL POWER SAVES LIVES !…..PERIOD !

    • You’re right, it does.

      Something I’ve been wondering about and have never come across is how much NG does the US have in proven reserves? It seems to me that we are burning more NG than ever before and that’s set to increase.

      Unless we have it coming out of our ying-yang then it makes more sense to burn coal for electricity and leave the gas for household and industrial uses.

      • nigelf, directional answers. US was running down proven and probable gas reserves 2000-2005. Fracking gas shales has changed that dramatically. US has the worlds largest shale gas resource. China is probably second. Russia is not third, because the vast Bahzenov shale (both oil and gas) has been grossly mischaracterized by the EIA. Essay Matryoshka Reserves.

        How much of the US shale gas resource in place can be converted to technically recoverable reserves (independent of price) is uncertain. Shales like the Utica are gas rich in the eastern 2/3, but have not been sufficiently drilled to make an estimate. USGS thinks many decades. I SWAG to at least 2100, even if remaining coal converts to CCGT as aging coal plants are replaced. Even if the European petrochemicals industry basically moves to the US as the North Sea and Groningen gas fields continue their decline. Even if we start exporting LNG in large quantities.

        Look at it differently. We use the gas for CCGT because it’s cheaper, leaving all that lovely Powder River Basin low sulfur low ash coal in the ground. It will be there waiting for new USC coal plants if needed at some point many decades from now.

      • Canada’s in ground NG is huge, many people forget that Canada has one of the largest land masses on the planet , has the same geo as does the US, Russia and so on, it is right now being stopped by the eco nuts and of course the really difficult terrain just as Russia’s vast areas. The infra structure in the US is largely in place and have that advantage to keep their NG cheap. I can’t understand why in Britain there is the push back against fracking, fracking is safe and has been used for decades. The destruction of western nations is unbelievable.

  12. My comments over on the Fabius website always end up in “Moderation” and are never removed. You be the judge is the comment is “inappropriate.”

    co2islife
    17 April 2016 at 11:43 am
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    I would argue that not only testing the models with original data would help, but also transparency into the model construction, data collection and data “adjustments” would be a huge step forward. The “adjustments” are simply way to suspicious to avoid an investigation.
    WUWT does a good job exposing the temperature “adjustments.” Be sure to read the comments for some lively discussion.
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/04/16/do-the-adjustments-to-land-surface-air-temperature-data-increase-the-global-warming-rate/
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/04/16/march-2016-global-surface-landocean-and-lower-troposphere-temperature-anomaly-update/

    You can read my posts that got me banned.Basically you can’t disagree on their site.

    https://fabiusmaximus.com/2016/03/07/testing-models-to-end-climate-wars-94671/

    • Mentioning WUWT is probably what did it. The pro alarmist sites appear to dismiss out of hand any comments that mention or link to information (regardless of original source) sites that question any part of the alarmist mantra.

      • Editor of the Fabius Maximus website April 17, 2016 at 9:56 pm

        CO2,

        Your comments go to moderation because you tend to make stuff up. Ones that don’t are posted — such as that one was.

        Dear Editor:

        I’d never been to your website, don’t know why, it just had a bad vibe to me from the various comments you’ve made here. Plus, your use of the grandiose title of “Editor of the Egotisticus Maximus Website” or whatever it is set my teeth on edge … you’re not an “Editor”, you’re just another bozo on this bus like the rest of us. It didn’t make me want to visit such an outpost of pomposity.

        Now, I see that I was right. You are censoring comments just because you think they are “made up”, whatever that might mean to you.

        Now, I’m no great fan of co2islife … but you’ll notice that he is free to post his ideas here. I don’t agree with them, but so what? This site exists to encourage discussion, not to stamp it out.

        Why is he free to post here? Because we don’t set ourselves up as judge and jury regarding which comments are valid scientifically and which are not. In other words, we don’t censor comments because of a perceived lack of scientific validity … and you have just proudly stated that you do censor comments on that bogus basis.

        In any case, hearing you announce that you censor views that you happen to disagree with puts you on the banned list in my book. I have no time for that kind of anti-scientific nonsense.

        Please don’t expect any further discussion with me. I don’t have any truck with people who censor other people—in my book, that is scientific malfeasance of the highest order.

        w.

      • CO2, Your comments go to moderation because you tend to make stuff up. Ones that don’t are posted — such as that one was.

        Make stuff up? Please provide any example and allow me to defend/explain it. I post on this site a lot, there are a lot of very well informed readers, and you won’t find many examples of me “making stuff up.” Please, provide any example where I “make stuff up.”

    • My comments over on the Fabius website always end up in “Moderation” and are never removed. You be the judge is the comment is “inappropriate.”

      I stand corrected, Fabius approved my recent post and actually gave me a “like.”

  13. As somebody who is an engineer at times, the heat rate of a combined cycle ng plant is aesthetically pleasing when compare to the heat rate of a coal plant. Beyond that, it is solely economics. The CO2 released used to be in the atmosphere once upon a time and does not appear to effect the climate in a major fashion. I am still waiting for somebody to give me a reference to a reputable study that rejects the hypothesis of warming during the 20th century as being entirely due to solar effects with a degree of statistical significance.

    I hope the folks in W. Va. enjoy their hopey changey thing. They voted for it.

    • That’s the sad part. Wyoming did the same thing—voted for two spineless individuals who threw coal miners under bus. And they’d do it again. It’s hard not to think people are hopelessly clueless.

    • ShrNfr

      The combined cycle coal gasification plants are every bit the equal of the Nat Gas plants, except they don’t require incoming gas pipelines and you can build them anywhere. The trend now is to remove the nitrogen from the exhaust and recirculate the exhaust with oxygen to create combustion conditions with low excess air and a very high CO2max. The effect on efficiency is amazing. It can only be done at scale – no little stoves unfortunately, but big gas and big coal gas are going head to head now with very interesting technologies.

      Both plants can sell the CO2 and (some of the) nitrogen, the recovered metals and the sulfur.

      • Nicholas

        I am watching this section (and technology at a distance) closely because they are working hard on what I consider combination innovations. What I hope doesn’t happen is to make the thing as expensive as humanly possible in the hope that someone will fund if to ‘save the climate’.

        I work a lot with the gasification of fuel and performance measurement. The technologies all exist single to make this work at a very high efficiency. Boondoggles like the plant in the Southern US are the way ‘big business’ approaches it, Just watch what Indian and China do with the concept when it is their turn.

        London used to run on coal gas, and now they make like it is stupendously expensive to make it.

  14. Anthony,

    I find much to disagree with in this posted article, but I congratulate you for posting it. Not every article here has to toe some line. Diversity in opinions of guest posters is a welcome thing — and we don’t all think that you personally agree 100% with every post. Nor should you.

    As I said, kudos.

    • diversity in opinion is fine … this post was pure ignorance … unless the diversity you seek is intelligent and stupid …

  15. I’m blown away that Tri Alpha Energy has raised as much as $150 in private capital. But I’m guessing you meant $150m?

  16. Inaccurate, badly written, muddle-headed thinking – which is why I gave it one star. This comment will probably mean I’m barred from posting on his website – if I ever went there, which is exceedingly doubtful having read the above tripe.

    • luc,

      “will probably mean I’m barred from posting on his website ”

      What a fine example of confidently making stuff up! Everything goes up (excerpt the usual filters for obscenity etc). There are 8 people whose history of making stuff up sends their comments to moderation first. One guy who post comments of over 1000 words — despite frequent warnings (these are thread killers) is banned.

      That’s it.

  17. Coal, Oil, and gas, are far too valuable to burn. They make sense to exploit in petrochemicals. However, until we get to rational alternative fuels (nuclear comes to mind) we are stuck with them.

    • Nuclear powered cars? Maybe using nuclear electricity to power electric cars and trucks. You will need long extension cords for all those 18 wheelers on I-80, 70, 40 & 10.
      Their value is determined by technology and the markets, not some warm fuzzy feeling.

    • Right, js; I’ve long said that those hydrocarbon bonds were much too lovingly formed to shatter just for the energy within them. We need those bonds for structure, to clothe and house us, and for containers to keep all our stuff in.
      =================

    • Given enough energy, you can synth long chain/aromatic hydrocarbons from CO2 and water.

      Nothing ‘too valuable’ about them.

      What is the value, is the energy.

      IN an entropic universe, free energy is life itself.

      • Well, of course, given enough energy. There is a lot of energy in the universe and my long term prediction is that man will not ultimately use all of it.
        ================

  18. The other harsh irony is that coal, the coal miners and John L Lewis made the modern democratic party. FDR created the Tennessee Valley Authority and other coal powered energy programs. Coal won WWII for us.

    FDR seizes control of Montgomery Ward…On this day in 1944, as World War II dragged on, President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders his secretary of war to seize properties belonging to the Montgomery Ward company because the company refused to comply with a labor agreement.

    http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/fdr-seizes-control-of-montgomery-ward

    45 – Executive Order 9340 on Seizure of Coal Mines.
    I have today by appropriate Executive Order directed the Secretary of the Interior, who is the Fuel Administrator and in whose Department is the Bureau of Mines and the Bituminous Coal Division, to take possession of and operate the coal mines, for the United States Government.

    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=16392

    Teddy did the same:

  19. Fabius Maximus underestimates the virulence of the fractivists, and vastly overestimates the effects of burning coal. He is paying attention to the Democratic primary? The Hidebeast and Bernie competing on who can suck up to the anti-fracking movement? He rather missed that, if he is predicting a long term price differential between gas and coal.

      • Kit, the discussion, and my comments, were about electric utility fuel. While nuclear would be preferable, coal is not as bad as Larry Kummer states, and any sucking up to the green blob is reprehensible.

    • Tom,

      “Fabius Maximus underestimates the virulence of the fractivists, and vastly overestimates the effects of burning coal.”

      I am reporting facts. Natural gas & other sources are replacing coal. You might not like it, or ever believe that it shouldn’t do so — but the world rolls on nonetheless.

      Fun to read all the comments here by people who believe corporate managers running billion dollar energy companies are making foolish mistakes. Time will tell who is correct.

      • “corporate managers running billion dollar energy companies are making foolish mistakes”
        What an argument. Of course they do.

  20. “Coal is dirty and dangerous to mine, moderately expensive to transport (by train or barge), and dirty to burn.”

    Dirty to burn? Where are they getting their info? 1945?

    Coal smoke is unburned hydrocarbons and lofted carbonaceous particles blasted through combustion chambers made as small as possible – at least that is how it used to be. People don’t throw away energy any more. The ‘coal is dirty’ meme promoters are hoping to tack some vision of 1890 London onto the ‘CO2 is bad’ meme. It goes with the ‘wood is a smoky fuel’ meme that is still pushed by Big Gas.

    Having just returned from the Pellet Stove Competition at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, I can confirm that many products are burning wood beautifully these days. I was also witness to an extraordinarily clean burning (bituminous) coal stove in Bishkek a month ago. Here is the link to the pellet stove competition:

    http://forgreenheat.blogspot.ca/2016/04/wittus-and-seraph-win-pellet-stove.html

    The third place stove was very clean, very compact and generated 30 Watts DC to boot. Visions of doom, meet your Grim Reaper. The future just ain’t what it used to be.

    • Retired Kit

      I think it was in 2010 that our research at the University of Johannesburg showed that it was lower in PM2.5, CO2 and CO emissions to burn coal in-house than in a power station of the most modern kind.

      When things are burning that cleanly, the issue of chimney fires passes away as the direct cause is accumulation of incompletely burned fuel (tar and soot). In recent years there have been many developments in the ultra-clean combustion of wood and coal, and they are coming to market in odd places.

      As for fuel delivery, it is least expensive in terms of infrastructure to move solid fuels because they can be piled, stored, divided and apportioned as needed. For risks associated with pellets, I just heard that wood pellets are emitting CO for some reason. Clarkson Univ in Potsdam is working on why, and what to do about it. What that space.

      • Chrispen

        Thanks for your response. I have heated with wood for many years especially in drafty old houses in very cold climates with heating oil as the existing source. I was working at nuke plants and lived in the boondocks. A popular bumper sticker was ‘Split wood, not atoms!’

        At one location, a neighbor was an anti-nuke who loved to tell me how dangerous my job was until he had a chimney fire. When he would bring up nuclear safety, I would ask if he had any chimney fires lately.

        “CO emissions to burn coal in-house than in a power station of the most modern kind.”

        Whenever there is a major power outage, there is an epidemic CO poisoning at the local emergency rooms.

        My point is that comparisons to a coal plant are just wrong. Safety problems with wood stoves or solar panels in your home is that you kill your children.

        I think there should be a test for residents of New York and California before doing anything that could endanger children. Judging from elite scientist of the most elite educational institution of those states, people are not very smart there.

        I love heating with wood but I have stopped doing it for the most part because it is the most dangerous and dirtiest way to get energy.

  21. Call me cynical, But I suspect that a number of billionaires will buy up these bankrupt companies and have enough political clout to convince politicians that coal isn’t all that bad. Especially when their green schemes begin to fail.

    • George Soros just bought a whack of shares a few months ago in one of the big two, Arch or Peabody.
      How these bankruptcies affects him I’m not sure.
      But I really would like to know…

  22. I’m a bit confused after reading this article. (Although, many say “confused” is my natural state.) Am I to believe former workers of these bankrupted companies should be celebrating these “forced reforms”?

    • Paul,

      Free market systems produce good results for the entire society. But every round of progress produces casualties. Automation is a consistent killer of some jobs, but the economy expands. The shift to autos and trucks destroyed whole industries. And so forth.

      Do believe we should freeze technology and other forms of progress to protect jobs?

  23. So they want to mandate politically the discovery of new clean energy technologies?

    Good luck with that.

  24. Wait for it, wait for it …….

    “Tri Alpha Energy’s fusion device.”

    Another energy sc*m.

    There is a pattern to the incoherent ‘dirty’ whatever sc*ms. Start with a comparison to some old inefficient coal plant or ICE, then compare it to more modern technology, then …..

    Wait for it!

    Start talking about something that will save the world if they raise enough money to get it working.

  25. Oh yeah, I can hear the ecowackos cheering as coal companies descend into bankruptcy. Let’s see how loudly they cheer when they suffer their first brownout (or maybe blackout) when it -20F, -29C. I can’t wait.

  26. “performance standard is 1,305 lb CO2 / MWh.”

    “The entire point of EPA’s CPP is to cripple coal and encourage NG.”

    I have to agree, since nukes are at about 5 lb CO2 / MWh. If Obama wanted to reduce ghg, the performance standard would be 20 lb CO2 / MWh to allow for load following nukes.

    I am not advocating that. I think coal is an important part of the energy mix.

  27. The author’s apparent glee at the loss of jobs and opportunities in coal mining areas of the US is somewhat repellent but as was mentioned further up the thread, the US is not the world:

    “Does this make a different to climate change? Yes!”.
    That assumes a change in the atmospheric concentration of CO2 drives the climate so assuming that’s correct before the we see a ‘difference to climate change’ (whatever that means) we must see a change here:http://www.climate4you.com/images/CO2%20MaunaLoa%20MonthlySince1958.gif

    • glad someone else noted the human cost in lost jobs . seems to pass so many by on both sides of the debate these days.

      • The jobs are not lost. They are exported to China and other places were they are not actively dismantling their energy driven industrial economies. The USA could make things as cheaply as China if the F’ing federal government would stop interfering in countless ways.

    • Chris,

      “The author’s apparent glee at the loss of jobs”

      Progress usually requires the destruction of jobs. Fortunately free markets have proven able to create new ones. The massive industry of horse-drawn transportation systems was almost totally destroyed by modern engines. Automation reshaped US manufacturing — helping power the long powerful growth in US exports. It’s a long list.

      Perhaps you would prefer an America tied to outmoded tech, where jobs were preserved while the world passes us. Fortunately few agree with you.

      Global coal use

      The IEA data has proven to be more accurate than the BP data, but appears only with a lag. However it and other sources suggest that world coal use peaked during 2011-13. Whatever the date, the trend is clear.

      Data from the Energy Information Agency shows that world coal consumption fell by 98 million short tons (1.2%) in 2012 (most recent data) following peaking in many nations, both poor and rich nations.

      * North American use peaked in 2005; 2012 was down an astonishing 21% since then (USA use in Q1 2015 was down 24% from Q1 2005).

      * Europe peaked in 2007, after 6 of its 9 largest coal-consuming nations peaked: UK and Poland in 2006; Czech, Germany, and Greece in 2007; and Turkey in 2011.

      * Africa peaked in 2008.

      * Asia in 2011.

      China data is unreliable, but their published stats show that their coal use peaked in the last year or two. Growth might increase, of course — but their plans provide for a slow decrease in consumption.

      http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/29/china-coal-consumption-drops-again

      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/03/world/asia/china-coal-consumption-down.html

      • Markets fluctuate and as long as different energy sources can compete without government interference that’s fine by me.
        Obama’s so-called Clean Power Plan may be stalled in the Supreme Court but it’s very existence has had an effect creating great uncertainty.
        Coal’s temporary cost disadvantage is not good news because some future fantasy scenario is less likely, it should be good news for US energy consumers because it’s the result of open government-free competition — but is it?
        It may not be such a good idea to remove those rail lines to mines just yet.
        Jo Nova has a piece today discussing China’s energy plans including coal (see link below on this thread).

  28. I find this article BS. Why? It contains such lies as:

    Coal is dirty and dangerous to mine, moderately expensive to transport (by train or barge), and dirty to burn.

    Improvements in solar, wind, and geothermal

  29. I would be nice if a Federal bankruptcy judge could set aside burdensome, un-warrented EPA regulations as part of the settlement.

  30. quote “The horrific coal-burning late 21st century described by RCP8.5 provides a valuable warning that we have to push technological progress for any hope of a better world.”

    Utter rubbish.

    Demonstrate that the human contribution of CO2 into the atmosphere makes a difference to the total (or is it a natural increase).
    Demonstrate that CO2 raises atmospheric temperature.
    Demonstrate that rising atmospheric temperature is dangerous.

    Then we’ll consider that we need alternate energy forms at massive expanse.

  31. I can think of no better place to mention that Pointman has a wonderful post up called “Science and sensibility.” the link is: https://thepointman.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/science-and-sensibility/

    As he points out in the post, he does not get involved in the “climate wars” much anymore. That makes this jewel of a post all the more worthy of a read. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course, the absolutely fabulous command of the language that he always displays makes it even better.

    I liked this part:

    This week she became engaged in a soft to medium Twitter firefight with a turnip called Gavin Schmidt over something sciency, the tedious details of which are not worth disturbing the serenity surrounding a Brahmin like your good self, but the turnip got his ass handed to him in short order. The propagandists are slightly afraid of her, and with good reason.

    A few acid tweets by a very strict Mistress Judith and the freshly lashed turnip morphed into a trussed up turkey but his rather pathetic parting shot as he limped away from the scene with both his hands clutching the by now tender dangly bits between his legs was “there are degrees of correctness”.

    There sure are, turnip boy, and on that occasion you were definitely on the zero degrees end of it.

    Enjoy.

  32. How fewer emissions gas produces versus coal depends upon which type of gas power generator is beingused. : close cycle or open cycle. Closed cycle gnerators produce much less emissions beut can operate as baseload, not peak load generators. Of course, most coal generators are baseload, although some are mid loadtypes.

  33. Not expecting to see a pro-warming, destroy the economy post here, but everyone has their own opinions on this. Doth the writer have any idea what to do with the people making $30 plus an hour now that they have been forced to sacrifice their hard work and jobs on the alter of global warming? You can’t make house payments on Walmart wages, trust me. Now the schools, the colleges, the businesses, etc all lose their income, so you can add another 50% to the total lost to saving the planet. Unlike innovation taking jobs and creating new ones, the government just smacks down workers and leaves them in the dirt. Too bad, but the planet thanks you or something like that. So the economy fails, which is right in line with the whole global warming thing. No one has ever considered the cost of people living in the streets, businesses sitting empty, schools closed, road repair ends, etc. Of course, if you hate and despise humanity as the greens do, I suppose there is dancing in the streets over all those stiffed by the government regulations on coal. A celebration of lives messed up and lifetimes of earnings and work stomped on by those who claim to “care”. Do us a favor—STOP CARING.

    • Reality,

      Your view would have America with 95% of its people as low-wage farmers, or perhaps keep the US stuck using horses for transportation. Conversion would destroy jobs!

      Fortunately we rely on free-market systems that both destroy and create jobs. Providing for re-training of those affected is a legitimate function of governments (business seldom does so).

      But your kind of central planning mentality produces certain stagnation for everybody. Fortunately there are not enough of your kind to determine policy in the US.

      • No, Editor, we do NOT. There is no free enterprise when it comes to coal and oil. There is massive government regulation strangling the industries. Interesting that you failed to mention, or maybe even notice that fact. If you missed that fact, what else did you miss?

        You are the one advocating central planning based on climate change regulations. Or do you believe that the government should completely and totally, 100% get out of the climate change regulations and let the free market be free? No subsidies for wind or solar—dead industries in two years thereafter. No regulations on CO2? I didn’t think so. So what was that about central planning—projection?

      • By the way, what is my “type”? A rational, scientifiic person who can see through the scams of those pushing political scams. Unfortunately, you may be right—you may have correctly ascertained that Americans are indeed foolish, emotional and malleable sheep, perfect for the wolves to eat without a lot of effort. Of course, only the wolves figure these things out, so where have you cast yourself?

  34. Coal may be dying but it isn’t quite dead. In 2015 in Alberta, coal supplied 64% of the power, up from 55% in 2014. Wind increased from 4% to 5% and gets priority for use when available. NG is mainly used for peaking. Interesting that recent wind power in Alberta was built with subsidies from California through their Renewable Energy Credits program (REC).

    But what is really interesting is that presently Southern California gets about 50% of its power from imported coal power and 10% from imported NG power. They plan to phase coal power supply out by 2027. What will they replace it with?

    http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/analysis/californias-hidden-coal-use/

    Note: the above is a bit biased as if you look at the state as a whole, coal imported power is at about 8% of the total. California currently imports about 1/3rd of its power.

    Also interesting is that Nuclear power production has dropped by half from 2011 to 2014, and hydro has dropped by 63%. The losses were replaced by wind, solar, NG and imports. Solar was surprising as there was a huge jump in the solar in 2014 (from 4,323 Gigawatt hours to 10,557).

    http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/electricity/electricity_generation.html

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    California and some Canadian provinces have a “Carbon Trading” set up that allows them to offset their “emissions”. Not sure I understand the program but I reckon the Alberta wind farmers appreciate the money:

    From the Canadian National Energy Board: As of January 2015, there are 17 projects in the Alberta Electric System Operator’s queue, totalling over 2,300 megawatts of wind power capacity. However, the nature of Alberta’s open market makes revenue streams for wind generators less certain than in other provinces. The average price for electricity in Alberta’s market in 2014 was $50 per megawatt-hour, which is thirty dollars less than the 2013 average and well below the Alberta Electric System Operator’s estimated all-in cost for wind ($84 per megawatt-hour).
    While some wind farms continue to receive credits from Natural Resources Canada’s closed ecoEnergy program, industries throughout Alberta have used credits gained from wind generation against emissions charges under the province’s Specified Gas Emitters Regulation (worth approximately $15 per tonne of CO2 equivalent). Others, such as EDF’s Blackspring Ridge wind project, have sold credits outside of Alberta. This project represents 300 megawatts of the 350 megawatts of wind power added in Alberta in 2014 and has a 20-year renewable energy credit sale agreement with California’s Pacific Gas and Electric.

    (bold added)

    One of Alberta’s Wind Farms (money loser) was recently bought by IKEA as part of their “green” program. I have no problem if companies who are promoting a green ideology for marketing purposes want to invest in these programs as it results in less subsidies required from ideological governments. However, all wind power received by the Alberta grid is government subsidized based on the pool price.

  35. Tri Alpha. Must admit that had not been on my nuclear radar. So checked all the links posted and then some. Must say, would not invest. Helium-Boron fusion. Advantage no neutrons released, no neutron embrittlement (which will almost certainly doom the ITER economically even if it reaches break-even plus on energy). Disadvantage, need to confine plasma at 3 billion K, not 100 million K as with hydrogen-hydrogen. 30x bigger confinement temp problem. No wonder no one else, including no government lab anywhere, is working on this. The Science piece is not a paper. It is a deputy editor comment on a Tri-Alpha PR. It says Tri Alpha has reached 10 million K for 5 milliseconds. OK, that is 10/3000 or 0.3% of the way to what they must achieve on temp. And 5 milliseconds is a heck of a lot shorter than continuous sustained fusion for any useful period of time. Like say, a whole night to offset solar intermittancy.
    Me, I would bet on good old coal making a comeback after the warmunist madness passes. My dairy farm will be very grateful for the free fertilizer. Soybeans and alfalfa especially. Maples, oaks, hickories, walnuts, apples, and crabapples also. Corn, not so much since it is a C4 plant.

  36. So much nonsense it’s hard to know where to start. “Coal mining is dangerous”, yeh right … even
    “Transport, postal & warehousing ” has 4 times the death rate.

    • Allan,

      Perhaps BP is correct. However their conclusion disagrees with that of several other sources. The most reliable source, the IEA, produces hard data but only with a long delay.

      I’ll trust the global price data as the best indicator of demand. Prices are falling fast, in much of the world. That is not consistent with coal being “the fastest-growing primary fuel on Earth”.

      “The USA is not the planet Earth.”

      Coal use and prices are falling in much of the world. Such as that driver of global commodity consumption, China: http://www.reuters.com/article/china-economy-trade-coal-idUSL3N14X1TC20160113

      • No! And this is the weakness in all your arguments, none of your assumptions are meaningful in the world today (The real world). Price is not a not a good indicator of demand in a command economy!! And the globe is such today. All is calm until the US dollar is dumped as the world standard.

  37. GOOD news that we are losing a company that produced so much life on Earth (photosynthesis)?

    My Life purpose is to increase the carrying capacity of Earth for all forms of Life.

    This title had me screaming for several minutes.

  38. “It was rescued by the energy boom, which produced fracking — which crashed natural gas prices and trashed the coal industry.”

    So how was it rescued ? and from what ? Coal was doing fine for decades … the coal industry was not trashed by natural gas … are you really that ignorant ?

  39. Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, recently made a devastating admission… the goal of environmental activism is not to save the world from terrifying environmental calamity, but to end capitalism.

    “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said.

    Referring to a new international treaty environmentalists hope will be adopted at the Paris climate change conference later this year, she added: “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”

    This brings us to verse 25 of the Obama Impeachment song (as if sung by President Barack Hussein Obama to the tune of “Please release me, let me go”)

    Climate change our biggest threat,

    If worse, I will break out a sweat.

    Global Governance, you bet!

    My war on King Coal not over yet.

    The whole Obama Impeachment song: http://lenbilen.com/2015/02/25/the-complete-obama-impeachment-song/

    Meanwhile, China keeps increasing its use of coal

  40. I wager that anyone currently burning dung would line up to be able to get their hands on some coal.

    • I’ve seen a video Russian artisan coal miners, crawling into narrow seams and hauling out their couple of burlap bags of daily coal. They were largely vodka fueled, those soldiers of fortune.
      ======================

  41. Coal is dirty and dangerous to mine, moderately expensive to transport (by train or barge), and dirty to burn….

    … and we all know the special little snowflakes can’t get dirty

  42. Why should Aussies dig centuries’ supply of the best Permian coal from Sydney’s backyard when they can buy into the world’s pipeline wars, sea-lane wars, diplomatic wars, and cold wars?

    Oh. I nearly forgot to mention hot wars. Gas is the new black, and if Syria can be dismantled for the Gulf/Turkey/Sunni axis then maybe German Europe can buy less gas from the opposition Russian Empire. Of course, Vlad might be tempted to liberate Azerbaijan and Georgia just to keep the Caspian a safe lake for Russians and Iranians…That’s where it gets really exciting.

    Makes coal seem rather boring, doesn’t it? And if gas prices stay in the toilet (who ever heard of a gas/oil price rise?) and all the wars get won by all the right people we’ll be leaving that durrrdy coal in the ground forever.

    Peace, hippies.

  43. Thanks, good, but here is the expert on Agenda 21 – Rosa Koire, a must listen to. Very entertaining and informative, You only have to listen to the first half to get the gist of it,,,

    She has done many other videos, but I think this is the best for me.,,,Glenn Beck got his info from her…

    Phil

  44. Thanks, good, but here is the expert on Agenda 21 – Rosa Koire, a must listen to. Very entertaining and informative, You only have to listen to the first half to get the gist of it,,,

    She has done many other videos, but I think this is the best for me.,,,Glenn Beck got his info from her…

  45. “…When natural gas prices drop below $3 per thousand cubic feet (i.e., per 100 thousand BTU),”

    1000 ft3 of natural gas = ~one million BTUs, not 100,000.

  46. A stupid article, far beneath WUWT normal standards. So-called “deadly” coal burning saved much of the planet’s forests from being consumed by people burning wood for home heating and cooking. It lifted a much larger relative population out of energy poverty, and in good measure, out of abject poverty overall. While I would agree with the premise that some of the coal industries problems are due to the success of fracking and natural gas prices, another portion of their problems have come from propagandists and alarmists, forcing a purely political favored business environment onto forms of electricity generation that are much worse in environmental, social and economic terms. And to propose that some pie-in-the-sky form of fusion generated electricity makes the alarmist attacks on the coal industry a good thing, is the worst form of Fabian socialism. It’s a clear example in believing that what you WANT can be commanded into existence by fiat by some central authority. If Lysenko taught you nothing, then you are an idiot.

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